Prospects for Cherenkov Telescope Array Observations of the Young Supernova Remnant RX J1713.7-3946

F. Acero, R. Aloisio, J. Amans, E. Amato, L. A. Antonelli, C. Aramo, T. Armstrong, F. Arqueros, Katsura Asano, M Ashley, M. Backes, C. Balazs, A. Balzer, A. Bamba, M. Barkov, J. A. Barrio, W. Benbow, K. Bernlöhr, V. Beshley, Ciro Bigongiari

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We perform simulations for future Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) observations of RX J1713.7-3946, a young supernova remnant (SNR) and one of the brightest sources ever discovered in very high energy (VHE) gamma rays. Special attention is paid to exploring possible spatial (anti)correlations of gamma rays with emission at other wavelengths, in particular X-rays and CO/H i emission. We present a series of simulated images of RX J1713.7-3946 for CTA based on a set of observationally motivated models for the gamma-ray emission. In these models, VHE gamma rays produced by high-energy electrons are assumed to trace the nonthermal X-ray emission observed by XMM-Newton, whereas those originating from relativistic protons delineate the local gas distributions. The local atomic and molecular gas distributions are deduced by the NANTEN team from CO and H i observations. Our primary goal is to show how one can distinguish the emission mechanism(s) of the gamma rays (i.e., hadronic versus leptonic, or a mixture of the two) through information provided by their spatial distribution, spectra, and time variation. This work is the first attempt to quantitatively evaluate the capabilities of CTA to achieve various proposed scientific goals by observing this important cosmic particle accelerator.

Original languageEnglish
Article number74
Number of pages14
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2017


  • cosmic rays
  • gamma rays: ISM
  • ISM: individual objects (RX J1713.7-3946, G347.3-0.5)

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